Tarot of the Tree Whispers
As we wander through the woodland of our lives, we occasionally stumble across the overgrown gateways of our unexplored dreams. Pathways winding deeply into our imaginations, waiting for us to join with them, breathing new life into their form and expression. When we encounter one of these old gateways it is as though we are roused from our long sleep. We try to recall that which was once known, understood and alive within us. These pathways whisper to us in language animated with wild shapes, feelings and colours. We soften our gaze upon them, pause for a moment, sensing into their unknown destination yet familiar company . We lean into their aura. Breathing deeply for a moment, drawing into our being their subtle perfumes. Something within us awakens. Our eyes brighten. We feel a stirring within our body, a recognition of that which is beyond. Something within us needs to be with that otherness, that aliveness. We step through the gateway and greet the earth under our feet. The adventure begins.
Inspiration from Nature
Tarot of the Tree Whispers is set among the landscape of the Scottish Highlands. And is a co-creation between myself and the beings of the trees and nature spirits.
This project is a continuation of the magical work started with the spirits of the Tree Whisper Oracle deck.
Tarot of the Tree Whisperer is a nature themed tarot deck with a unique system embodying strong animistic and spiritual symbolism.
Creative illustrations will display The Council of Trees integrated into tarot symbolism, and a detailed companion book will accompany the deck and those who work with the images, the Whisperers.
The artwork of Tarot of the Tree Whisperer is designed to engage the intuition, felt-senses, instinct and creative mind. Supporting a grounded and aware presence of being, and the clearing of inner space giving voice to the bodies animated parts.
The artworks are created intentionally to inspire conversation between all beingness in everyday life through the beings and symbolism in the images.
Inspiration for accompanying elements of artwork in addition to trees, is taken directly from nature and will relate my own perception of the beingness of the communities of aliveness of the land.
I am using Derwent Lightfast Paper and colour pencils and Faber-Castell Fine Liners to create a coloured in ink illustrations. I am using the colour pencils with solution to create water colour effects on the paper.
The suit of swords is represented by the element of air, the seasons of Spring and the tribes of the East. This is the realm of the morning of our lives and the sunrising over our birth and our youth (0-20 years). This realm holds the magic of twilight.
The suit of Wands is represented by the element of fire, the season of Summer and the tribes of the South. This is the realm of the afternoon of our lives and the high mid-day sun over our young adulthood. (20-40 years)
The suit of Cups is represented by the element of water and the tribes of the West. This is the realm of the evening of our lives and the setting sun over our mature adulthood (40-60). This realm holds the magic of twilight.
The suit of Pentacles is represented by the element of earth and the tribes of the North. This is the realm of the night time of our lives and the moon light of our wisdom years and death (60-80+).
Tribes of the Elders
The suits, or tribes as I enjoy thinking of them, will echo the seasons Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, and the rhythms of these cycles found in the spiritual nature traditions. They will be amplified energetically through the elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth. In the courts of the suits we will meet the tribe elders, the Wanderer, Weaver, Guide and Spirit Keeper. Traditionally Page, Knight, Queen and King in RWS Tarot. These tribe elders will act as teachers through which our current tree cycle will inform our moon month forecast. I do really enjoy the traditional tarot symbolism of Swords, Wands, Cups and Pentacles, there is something so rich and tactile for me in this familiarity. And while I love nature themed tarot decks, when the suit names are changed, this creates a barrier in memory for me and I find it confusing. The suits symbols and associations of Tarot of the Tree Whisperer are as follows:
Swords - East, Spring,
Air, Sunrise, Birth/Youth.
Wands - South, Summer,
Fire, Midday Sun,
Cups - West, Autumn,
Water, Sunset, Middle Age.
Pentacles - North, Winter, Earth, Sunset, Older Age.
Spirit Keeper (King)
In addition to the Elders within the elemental association of the Tribes, the Elders also carry an elemental amplification,
Wanderer - Air,
Weaver - Fire,
Guide - Water,
Spirit Keeper - Earth.
So the Wanderer of Wands is Airy Fire and the Spirit Keeper of Cups is Earthy Water.
The Elders also assume in subtle ways the other corresponding associations aligned with those elements. For instance, the Weaver of Swords will represent youth in thought and ideas and the Spirit Keeper of Cups will represent great age and emotional intelligence in relational depth.
Story of the Elders
In the woodlands and wild places of enchanted lands we meet the Wanderers, they are travellers, pilgrims, explorers and pioneers of their tribes. You may find them on the edge of the woodland, solitary beings traveling the hills and the heather heaths, high atop the misty moors or clinging to the north face of a mountain. These are the curious and brave who seek wisdom through lived experience on the edge. They are inspired and their spirits shine bright with possibilities, potential and wonder. They are the seekers, the risk takers and dare dreamers. The youth of their kin they are full of great ideas, motivation and enthusiasm. They have met many interesting beings on their travels and have heard many exciting and mysterious stories. Wanderers hold the power of imagination. They harness inspiration and direct it where needed. They also see very clearly wood for the trees, they inspire the truth to be revealed through dispelling illusion.
Weavers are those who are wise and widely recognised within their communities as the wizards and witches of their tribes. We find them anywhere there are natural power points near earth and water. They attune to high frequencies, strong currents of energy and potent and clean magnetic fields. They may be solitary trees or reside in small groups or sacred groves. They love to occupy sacred wells, fresh water springs, lay lines and root near standing stones. They are powerful designers. They weave fine and elaborate tapestries of the cycles of life. And even support the natural environment to evolve in a way that creates diversity, balance and harmony. They are architects and artists. Each thread they weave is intoned with spells, intentions and incantations. They work with all of the elements equally, and have the abilities to move in-between the folds of light, from the physical worlds into the elemental realms. With this ability they can also move between the past, present and future.
The Guides are the nurturers of the tribe, they are care takers, nourishing all life that surrounds them. Other trees, tree nurseries, dying trees, trees that require healing and tree stumps. They support all plant life above and below soil. And they nurture and animal life that visits their domain. Animals will often seek out Guides for medicines. They embody abundant life force and this replenishes and sustains their tribe and the wider natural environment. They are found anywhere from deep in the woodlands, to small community groves and parks, and they are usually in the centre of their environment, as all life springs up and orbits around them. They promote harmony, joy and creativity. They direct and enhance all communications channelled through the core felt-senses of all living beings, from the loci of though, feeling, will and expression. Guides translate and mediate all language from and between all natural life. Between the most complex of organism and the simplest cells, between the most powerful vibrations and the subtlest energies. Guides support relation between all life. They support community development and healthy strategies for connection.
Spirit Keepers are found in the most enchanted places. Sometimes deep in the woodland or by a waterfall they will reside. Often they are is plain view however strangely they might appear obscured as if protected by the other trees, hills and plants. And can be easily missed by casual passers by. They may also at times appears or vanish as if by magic, like a mirage in the desert. Spirit keepers also enjoy rooting at the very end of long overgrown pathways as if the effort it takes to visit them is symbolic of your sincere intentions to meet their wisdom Spirit keepers are wise elders and the most ancient of trees in the tribe. Many of them are in the very long process of dying (which can take hundreds of years in itself for a tree). They are the fullest and almost complete manifestation of their life cycle. Spirit Keepers hold suspended time within them. These trees are very often arks harbouring many spirits of animals and nature spirits. They are the grand masters of their craft, shamans and walkers between worlds. Spirit beings enter the Spirit Keeper Trees for a number of reasons, some spirits have passed from the living into spirit form and require healing before they move onto other realms, or are reincarnated. Some spirits enter these trees for
The Lunar Calendar
There are 13 lunations in the Celtic Tree Calendar. Although Technically there are 14 tree cycles with the Yew (Ogham Ioho) holding ground for Samhain on the 31st October. I usually include the Yew in the final tree month of Elder. Each tree cycle will be represented through each suit in the minor arcana. Birch will be illustrated in the aces of the suits, Rowen in the twos, Alder in the threes and so on. Ivy, Reed/Blackthorn, Elder and Yew becoming our courts, our tribe elders.
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Tarot of the Tree Whisperer